What exercise is good for my heart?

As a rule of thumb, the type of exercise and training intensity should be adjusted to fit your physical abilities. Be aware of your body’s warning signals and always drink plenty of fluids while exercising. Here are 10 ways for people on anticoagulants to stay active:


Regular cycling promotes endurance and oxygen supply. Competitive bike racing with peak capacities should be adapted to match your abilities. Demanding mountain bike trails in mountainous terrain are not always suitable, due to the risk of injury.

Fitness classes

Fitness training under the guidance of an instructor (e.g., group exercise classes) improves endurance, strength, coordination and flexibility. An instructor will help observe movements and correct them when necessary.

Hiking/Nordic walking

Hiking in the great outdoors promotes circulation and can have a calming effect. Be sure to adapt your pace to the terrain and to avoid very high altitudes, where the atmosphere reduces blood oxygen levels the higher you go. Hiking in altitudes up to 2,000 metres should pose no problem. Nordic walking is a particularly low-impact, all-body workout. Using poles while walking benefits the muscular system throughout the body.


Swimming gently develops the body’s entire muscle system and also stimulates the lungs. Following heart surgery, patients will need about an eight-week adjustment period, since swimming places a strain on the chest.


Regular paced running has a proven track record for reducing the risk of heart disease. It activates the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats, regulates insulin levels and supports stress hormone reduction.


Tennis and squash are only suitable for heart patients to a limited extent. This is due to the sudden movements, which can result in extreme peaks in blood pressure. Take it slow, and be sure not to overexert yourself.

Winter sports

Winter sport activities are great for keeping the cardiovascular system in shape during the cold months. It is better to pursue cross-country skiing instead of downhill, as it carries a significantly lower risk of injury.


Since soccer is a team sport, it can be social and very enjoyable. It does, however, place high demands on the muscles, tendons and bones. The risk of injury may be high — especially for older people, who may want to avoid sports with physical contact.

Weight training

Weight training is an important part of any exercise regimen. It not only trains muscles, but also strengthens ligaments and bones, and can help with balance. After heart surgery, patients should be careful to choose only those exercises that do not subject the chest to excessive pressure.


Dancing is an ideal sport for more senior heart patients. In addition to socializing and physical activity, benefits include increased coordination and balance.